Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ban the deed, not the breed

After rescuing a doberman pincher from the shelter, I couldn't agree with this more.  I went immediately from one of the privileged and a landlord's wet dream (well to do individual, with a great credit score, and always pay on time with minimal complaints) to having great difficulty finding an apartment that will accept my dog.

Generalizing that a breed is dangerous is like going out and banning all sport utility vehicles ("SUV") because they kill more people than a Vespa scooter.  I wholeheartedly agree that breeds such as a German Shepard or a Doberman can cause more damage to a bystander than a chihuahua or westie terrier.  The parallel is that a SUV can cause more damage than a Vespa.  This has nothing to do with how dangerous the breed is, but is solely because of the size of the dog.  What makes the SUV dangerous is the driver, not the car itself.

Once we understand that, the next step is to realize the breed isn't what makes a dog dangerous, but the individual who is raising the dog (a.k.a. the owner).  Dogs, in many ways, are a lot like people.  I strongly believe that the environment, not the genes, dictate a majority of the dog's (and the individual's) personality and actions.

A family that gives the dog a lot of attention, makes sure the dog is property trained, obedient, and sets the proper boundaries, will raise dog that will be very little risk to others. 

On the other hand, an individual who is negligent and abuses the dog, like an individual from a broken home, will create a dog that is dangerous regardless of size. 

How often do you come across a small dog that is extremely aggressive and likes to bite?  This is the result of a negligent owner.  The only reason it is ok is because the damage that could be cause by such a small dog is minimal.

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